When I speak about catastrophic climate change and the likelihood of near-term human extinction, I am often accused to “giving up” or choosing to “do nothing” about climate change. Even more charged for some is the notion of “living in hospice” which I argue is now the unequivocal predicament of our species. The typical rebuttal goes something like, “Instead of contemplating our navels or rolling over and preparing for death, we have to do something about climate change!”
Thus, I feel compelled to genuinely ask: What does it mean to actually “do something”?
This is how Carolyn Baker begins her latest piece at Nature Bats Last, and while she rattles off many substantive actions that can—and should—be taken, she concludes, much like I have, that some problems just don’t have solutions, i.e. when it comes to climate change, we’re fucked.
She says it better: “However, the tragic reality of our personal efforts, as noble or as fervent as they may be, is that they are not enough to prevent near-term human extinction.”
Baker also argues, again much like I have, that by trying to fix the problem, the global corporate-military elite will most likely make things worse, not better:
What is more, despite the efforts of some nations to “do something” about climate change, the harsh, cold (no pun intended) reality is that it is too little too late. Halldor Thorgeirsson, Senior Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change remarked in September, 2013, stated, “We are failing as an international community. We are not on track.” Now realizing the dire state of warming due to inaction on climate change, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that “Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere’s chemistry.” Of course, we already know that there is probably nothing that geo-engineering cannot make worse—for example the radical altering of rainfall patterns and the assertion by Live Science that “Current schemes to minimize the havoc caused by global warming by purposefully manipulating Earth’s climate are likely to either be relatively useless or actually make things worse, researchers say in a new study.” And earlier this month, Skeptical Science published an article entitled, “Alarming New Study Makes Today’s Climate Change More Comparable To Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction.” Moreover, according to the National Academy of Sciences “A Four-Degree Rise Will End Vegetation ‘Carbon Sink’ Research Suggests.”
So, as I’ve also written many times in the past, let’s stop concentrating on the dead end (pun intended) that is climate change, and concentrate on things we can do—er, not do, like having more children, building more suburbs, or digging up more flowers. In short, the reproductive justice movement is where it’s at. In the meantime, as hobbies we should all garden, ride bikes (and advocate others to join the trend), and learn lost skills. And above all, what we need is the building and developing of communities of support, so that in the short term humans and non-humans alike can enjoy our dwindling time and make the best of this terrible and rapidly deteriorating situation.